copyright Annie Lanzillotto 2012
Step right up. Welcome to the original site of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. This is the main entrance here behind me, 1275 York Avenue, in fact the whole twelve hundred block. This building’s cornerstone, for those interested, is on 67th and 1st Ave, one avenue west, yes, this main building takes up one whole city block wide and long. Above ground. Now, you all have passed many hurdles in the donor selection process, which as you know, is premier level of competition. Congratulations are in order. You each are in the top percentile of neoplastic providers across all factors, and each of you are now official recruits into our elite program, I.P.M.D.P. – Initiate Pre-Mortem Donor Program, based on metabolic rate of cell growth in your biopsy sample, evidentiary neoplasm in your initial surveillance screening, and pathological indicators such as palpable masses, visual identification of microcalcification of carcinoma in situ, or poorly defined borders in areas of dense angiogenesis, as well as prior risk factors, including but not limited to exposure to radiation and alkylating agents and other co-morbidity factors as well as karyotype tumor markers.
From now on, your PreMort Group Code Number is as follows: Cohort 00X7-A2-11B5-6340-ZH1. Each of your cell donations is guaranteed continual growth opportunity, in perpetuity in our Soft Tissue and Sarcoma Tumor Bank in the Bronx. You know us as The Cancer Farm, a name we trademarked in the middle Twenty-Second Century. You may not know that we grow more sarcomas, acute blood born metastasis and soft tissue tumors than anywhere in the world through all of recorded time. Hold your questions. If by the end of the tour your questions haven’t all covered, then we will go over each of them, one at a time. A few quick facts. This building, 1275 York, was erected in the middle of the Archaic Medical Period on this site on a land parcel donated by John Davison Rockefeller in 1936. Prior to that, the center’s first incarnation was on the Upper West Side of Manhattan just off Central Park West in a building funded by Charlotte and John Jacob Astor in 1884. The name of our institution has changed several times through those incarnations.
We will be going inside in a few moments, but first I want to give you the lay of the land. The East River is two blocks to the east and runs North-South to New York Harbor where it merges at the southern most tip of Manhattan with The Hudson River which borders the west side of the city. The East and Hudson Rivers flow into The Atlantic Ocean. New York Harbor never freezes, an early real estate attribute to the Dutch Colonists who were sailor-traders and relied on the fortunate winds of New York Harbor and the liquidity of the rivers to do business. In 1626, in a now infamous real estate transaction on the northwest edge of this island in the Reckgawawanc village Shorakkopoh, Dutch colonist Peter Minuit stood on the southernmost bend of Spuyten Duyvil Creek, or Devil Spit Creek, underneath a giant tulip tree; Liriodendrun Tulipfera, and traded the First Peoples for the land rights to the island then known as Mannahatta. We do not know the name of the Chief who is said to have made a mark on the piece of paper Minuet presented to him, though The Dutch claim said document exists or existed. Whatever Minuet had written on that paper, it is doubtful that the Chief understood the terms of the agreement. The European concept of land ownership would not have translated at all to the Chief. The Dutch claim that a fire in the colony records department destroyed much of New Amsterdam’s documents. The tulip tree remained the only living witness to the paper the Dutch understood as an ownership deed. Mannahatta became New Amsterdam. The tulip tree lived on, witnessing Mannahatta become New Amsterdam, and New Amsterdam become New York. This singular witness of the land and its peoples was chopped down in 1936 after a storm, its girth measuring nineteen feet. Yes, nineteen feet of history. I tell my wife all the time, if you measured my belly rings, you’ll see wisdom in girth. Oioooiiyo.
The First Peoples were pushed off the island and went by canoe northeast to the mainland, The Bronx. Which leads me to line 172 on your intake form, which you can note later, but sear number 172 into your brains. Whatever cells The Cancer Farm surgically removes from you will end up in our Bronx Silo. The cellular dividends on the first ten years will be kept at eighty degrees below zero Fahrenheit, for future research, and for global and intergalactic distribution in perpetuity with no restrictions as The Cancer Farm sees fit. The principle cellular deposit will always be kept as your natural body temperature to most closely simulate in vivo conditions and be available at cloning temperatures. Just to be clear. You have signed the rights away to your cells. This is a good thing, this is a good thing, as the alternative is simply, your cells become medical waste. As my colleagues are known to say:
You cannot take your cells with you. Oioooiiyo.
Incidentally, during your stay, for the Muslims in the crowd, from here, if you face The Bronx, you are facing Mecca. This always comes up. So, orient your prayer rugs toward The Bruckner Expressway. Technically that orientation is if you measure the direction of Mecca without taking into account the curvature of the earth’s surface. Now I’ll say this once. If you pray as if the earth were flat, as if your prayers can cut through the earth’s crust, starting on this spot with Manhattan Schist, and praying through Bronx Gneiss, and through bedrock all the way, Mecca is directly in line with The Bruckner. However if you pray using the curvature of the earth as your directional guide, then technically, — your parietal fontanelle must point to Teaneck, New Jersey to be facing Mecca. In that case, point your prayer rugs that way, toward The George Washington Bridge. Your choice. I recommend The Bronx and our local mosque has backed that up building their Mihrab in this direction. Just to acknowledge, there are two schools of thought. Orient accordingly.
Our Tumor Bank is two hundred years old, and we retain the highest neoplasm production rate place in the world. The first tumors known to man were found in two thousand year old Egyptian sarcophagi on the west bank of present day Luxor. Cancer is not a post-industrial phenomenon as was previously thought, but has been with humankind since the beginning of recorded history. You are part of an ancient tradition of cancer growers and a new generation of donors. This is the first time in history that your donations will go to good use, and contribute to society. Yes, we are living in interesting times. In addition to your stipend, we will provide regular scans, at no cost to you, and let your tumors mature to what we call their MMFM, Maturational Maximum Functional Mass. Just to clarify. You need to spend one week out of every six, in the Nucleotide Mirroring Resonance Scanner or NMRS. This takes moving pictures of every atom in every cell in your body. The great news is that we can, now for the first time, for qualified users, do whole body scans. Since you are all members of the program, you automatically qualify, while the general population is only authorized to scan sixteen inch cross-sections of the body at one time, and only through the authorization of a body section systems specialist, requiring thirty scanning sessions every a twelve month period. The Cancer Farm circumvents that so that you can achieve complete corporeal scanning in one six to ten hour session. This is a horizontal procedure in a confined space, however we do provide state of the art intravenous numbing techniques for levels one and two panic and dystopic disorders for anyone needing interventive or prophylatic assistance. Check “YES” on line 78 of your intake form.
You won’t know your tumors are inside you. But we will. Leave it to us. When a tumor has achieved its MMFM, it is automatically rated RH, Ready to Harvest, you will hear a soft bell go off on your monitor. When you hear this bell, come into the center within thirty-six hours. Simply swipe your beeper at the intake desk and you will be prioritized processed.
I ask you now to turn your attention to the devices you are wearing around your necks. There is a simple ON button, the green button. I am going to count down from five. When my arm comes down, press this button. Your whole test group will be synched to our mainframe system, through which your cells all will be monitored around the clock. Five, four, three, two, one, GO. Did everybody hit that? If you didn’t, raise your hand. Okay, we got a straggler. Let’s do it again. And six-seven-eight: five, four, three, two, one, GO! Everybody good this time? Perfect.
Before we enter the building, I want to show you something utterly unique; a work of original New York City folk life. I want you to look from here. On the corner, across 67th Street, right there on the Southeast corner, you see the bushes above that four foot brick wall? That is nursing staff housing. Okay, now under the bush on the corner, from here you can see shiny things? That is the homage to The Popsicle Cemetery. Go take a look, leave a trinket if you are so inclined. The Popsicle Cemetery was started by Vincent LePani, the son of Italian emigre parents, at the turn of the Twenty-first Century. Vincent LePani made it his practice to ink tongue depressors and popsicle sticks, etching the names of the famous and significant in his lifetime, leaving us with a time capsule of twenty-first century pop culture’s icons, pushed into this corner of New York earth. You see The King of Pop between The Pope and Elvis. There’s Frank Sinatra, Billy Martin, Thurman Munson, Louis Prima, Ronald Reagan. The Popsicle Cemetery was officially taken down in the year 2012, but by 2013, tongue depressors inked with names, mysteriously began to crop up again on this corner, and have ever since. No one knows who does this, purportedly a spontaneous action by a number of Sloan-Kettering patients who regularly made pilgrimage to The Popsicle Cemetery.
Across York Avenue are the gates to the renowned Rockefeller University. That Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome is a concert hall. You can walk on campus when you have the time and energy. Lovely landscaping there. But we will go back this way. Right this way. Watch the traffic. Cabs won’t stop for you, they will run you right down, and that would defeat our purpose. Let the bus go. Wave to the bus driver. He knew Vincent LePani. Stop for a moment. In the Twentieth Century when donors were called patients at Sloan-Kettering and New York was a refuge for immigrant populations, there used to be a telephone booth and a hot dog stand on this corner. Patients routinely walked out of the farm, which was then a hospital, telephoned their mother with their test results, got a hot dog and soda pop and shared conversation with Vincent LePani and at the Popsicle Cemetery. This was an intersection of vast conversations of the living and the dead, whereas one block north on 68th and York was the path more worn by medical staff who would go to the Cornell University Medial Library and Bookstore, or to events at Christie’s auction house up York Avenue.
Look up. From this vantage point if you bend your head back, you can see the fine vertical lines in the building’s facade. The alternating dark glass and light stone give the effect that the building is shooting up from the sidewalk. In the early part of the day you can see the sunrise bouncing off the face of the building, setting it, as if it were, on fire. The Cancer Farm is nineteen stories tall, and three stories underground, if you stamp your foot on the sidewalk, there are people walking below you, connected through tunnels to the east to New York Hospital and to the south clear to 66th Street. There are many interconnecting tunnels and passages, if you get tired of walking laps around your assigned floor, you might try exploring the sub-basement level. Most doors are not donor accessible, but you will find your way. You can exit the facility through all four directions.
Back to the main entrance. There have been many hallowed Doormen over the years who have escorted patients across this threshold. One is stationed here twenty-four / seven, and monitors everyone coming into and out of the hospital. In recent memory Mr. Cecil Rowe had this tenured post for many years. Cecil Rowe, a Jamaican émigré, was a spiritual gatekeeper for cancer growers who came to love his effluvient; his smile and white gloved wave. These ground floor windows here on York to 68th, are the offices of the hospital admissions staff. If you tap on the first window you can meet Mr. Flavio Martinez, a Colombian émigré with a perfect attendance record here at The Cancer Farm. If you need to change your Medical Proxy or Do Not Resuscitate orders, Flavio Martinez is the man to see. He always has a crisp shirt, an immaculate side part, and runs the show like a ship cruise director. You can ask him any questions about the workings of the hospital. Enter and take the escalator on the right. I will meet you on the next floor. Go inside and take a seat in the amphitheater.
Rapid Enduring Cell Division is the latest biotech energy source. As we find new and exciting uses everyday for immortal cell power, your cells are automatically qualified for participation in all programs to come. Our Neoplastic Power Plant converts energy from aerobic and anaerobic cellular respiration into grid power. Your cohorts’ tumors, collectively, can run a small city, and will. Test groups supplying power to lunar domes are in the works.
Incidentally for Muslims in the group, we understand that given the angle of rotational access of the earth, only supplicants who pray through the earth’s molten core can face Mecca from our Lunar domestic sites. Therefore, plans are in the works to create a Lunar K’abba for Hadj pilgrimage and prayer opportunities.
Now. At the end of this tour, you will watch a seven minute video that explains that project along with the terms of your contract, and the exciting interplanetary projects our biotech team already has in research and test phases. Your cells will fuel pioneering efforts in the future of this field. Cloning projections from super cell DNA are already highly optimistic. Current research topics include whether the immortal super cancer cell can recreate the entire host body, in addition to proliferating more super cell cancer. Either way, it will be you. What we do know is that each cell contains consciousness. The next fifty years of research will tell where what projects get implemented with the current fifty trillion cell repository.
The first neoplasms harvested for energy production and hominid remodeling happened right here at The Cancer Farm in the last century. Cutting edge biomedical engineering teams have designed efficient energy production and human phenotype remodeling, finding the keys to genetically alter neoplastic DNA while retaining resistance to senescence, maximizing utility of mitochondrial respiration as an extrinsic energy source, as well as providing base amino acids for regeneration of lost tissues limbs and organs within the host population. Your participation in this program ensures your access to the Neoplasm Regeneration capabilities in perpetuity for you and your progenitors. As we like to say:
“Since your cells never die, your membership doesn’t either.” Oioooiiyo.
Here you see a photo of our founders, Alfred Sloan and Charles Kettering. No, they weren’t medical doctors, good guess though, that’s a logical thought. They actually worked in the Twentieth Century auto industry after Henry Ford. Two G.M. executives, founded Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Alfred Sloan is credited with pioneering the concept of “planned obsolescence,” a turning point in industrialization. Planned obsolescence built, not to last, but to break down. This was a major departure from Ford’s philosophy, which was not inflated profit margin driven, but was utilitarian in production. Ford’s cars lasted. GM’s departure was to lure repeat consumerism. Although unspoken to the public, the model was: ‘Buy one now, buy a new one later.’ Sloan denied the practice of planned obsolescence publicly, but the history remains, that he transferred the principles of planned obsolescence from automobiles to the only living thing on the planet earth that defied planned obsolescence, — the super immortal cancer cell. By perfecting twentieth century models of isolating and removing cancer cells from host bodies, Sloan-Kettering did achieve returning senescence to cancers’ biped mammalian hosts, while effectively harvesting neoplasms. We still are working with cell samples collected during those seminal years. It became widely recognized that cancer cells live forever, defy ageing and death, and effectively shut off what was previously understood as the natural process of senescence. Here were found early proof that cancer cells divide and divide and divide, multiply and multiply and multiply, eventually killing their hosts. Early on, it was assumed that the tumors died with the corpse. We know now, that they didn’t always. Often the embalming chemicals or cremation temperatures did kill the cancer cells, but some corpses that were buried fresh and in cotton shrouds have been exhumed and there was evidence that the cancer cells continued to grow, adapting to the anaerobic environment of the host. In addition, when surgically taken out of the pre-mortem corporeal containers, cancer cells can be kept alive in vitro interminably. The cells never die, as long as they have a basic source of glucose.
A little history. Before neoplasms were recognized for their evolutionarily superior potential, the model in the Twentieth and Twenty-first century was: ‘Kill the host, you kill the cancer.’ Early treatments from this period included archaic chemotherapeutic agents that attacked the nuclei of the cancer cells, and external beam radiation treatment that destroyed mitosis using Cobalt 60 developed in our own in-house nuclear reactors. In addition internal ionizing radiation Radon seeds or Brachytherapy, were planted subcutaneously, interstitially, or within canals, vessels and cavities. Liquid ingestion of Radioactive Iodine 131, resulted in interval isolation of the individual host from the species for the duration of radioactive half-life according to dosimetry, a practice that now, our medical ethics boards would never allow.
Archaic Medicine took a militaristic approach to ‘treat’ cancers as if they were foreign invaders. All treatments killed the host a little bit and failed to work with the basic fact that tumor cells were of the body, by the body, for the body, were the body, and not foreign to the body at all. ‘Locate, Isolate, and Destroy’ was the branded core manifesto. Tissues were killed. Cells were killed. Organs removed. Non-cancerous and cancerous tissues were all sacrificed for the prolonged survival -inspite of the ultimate demise- of the host. Still, the priority was placed on ‘buying time’ for the host organism and not a thought was given to the evolutionary aim of the superior immortal cancer cell. These cells were not recognized as super cells at all until the middle of the twenty-second century, when an experiment was done here at The Cancer Farm, where one hundred and fifty six host bodies were kept alive together with tumor growths with radii over six centimeters. We found that cancers grew through and in cases outside the otherwise intact epithelial integument of the body. When left alone, cancer cells continued to grow after the host body’s death, as long as they had access to a glucose rich environment. Cancer cells adapted to nutrition sources outside the epithelial boundary zone of the host body. This study reframed the entire field. Cancer patients began to be referred to as Growers and Donors, as the belief caught on of the evolutionary potential of the immortal super cell. The first super cell growers were given opportunities to contribute to science by living out their human lifespan on I.V. glucose in a facility of nutrient rich substances, modeled after Tropical Rainforests. Senescence, death and decay of the host bodies occurred. Post-mortem bodies were not moved, embalmed, cremated or buried. They were left in the forest simulated environment and the cancers were observed for a twelve month period. Tumors fed exogenously, did thrive. Observations continued.
Okay, now I will take your questions.